Google's Android OS may have a leg up on Apple with a new app that has been developed. In this video from Reuters, Jim Drury explains how a group of eye-care professionals designed an application that allows Android devices to be used as mobile eye exam units. This will make the diagnosis of eye problems for hundreds of thousands of people who cannot travel to the city much easier. Third world countries will definitely benefit from this amazing new app!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
If you have can't decide whether Google's Google Now voice recognition software is better than Apple's Siri, then this video could help. Watch 50 voice commands put to action by the two programs, and see which one you would prefer to have. This video from Phone Buff demonstrates the ability of these two programs to translate voice commands into action.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Still undecided about purchasing an iPhone 5s? Check out this video review of the new model and see if the new features are what you're looking for. Remember to check out our selection of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models in our Bytes 4U section.
Apple is still maintaining a tight grip on its supply of iPad Minis with Retina Display. The much coveted device is still not available in carrier stores, and this could be because the Cupertino company does not feel its supply chain is strong enough to maintain the demand in carrier stores, as well as in Apple’s own direct customer base.
As of this morning (Friday, December 6), Verizon still has the iPad Mini with Retina Display backordered all the way out till December 16th. AT&T is not looking any better with its 21-28 day waiting period when the tablet is ordered online. Neither of the carriers has offered any information as to when the iPad Mini with Retina Display would actually be in their brick and mortar stores, according to CNET. T-Mobile has not yet given a date as to when the iPad Mini with Retina Display would be available. The company’s website simply says that it will be “available for shipment soon.” Apple’s direct availability of the tablet has seemed to improve in recent days, as the waiting period is now listed as 5-7 days, rather than the 5-10 days that had been listed last week.
The cellular models of the iPad Mini with Retina Display are now available for walk in purchases in some Apple retail stores in the U.S., although Verizon and AT&T still do not have the tablet.
Apple’s launch of the iPad Mini with Retina Display was uncharacteristically quiet, with the tablet being launched on the company’s website at midnight, and with no public announcement. This is probably due to supply constraints, which do indeed seem to be plaguing the carriers. The new iPad Mini with Retina Display is one of the most sought after holiday gift items this year.
While Verizon and AT&T may not have any of the devices for sale, Tiny Apple Bytes does have available devices. To get your iPad Mini with Retina Display from Tiny Apple Bytes, simply visit our Bytes 4U page and select the model you want!
In July Judge Denise Cote of the New York federal district court passed a conviction down on the iPad, claiming that it was a part of a conspiracy to increase e-book prices. This doesn’t really seem to make sense on the surface, as the tablet actually caused e-book prices to drop when it entered the market in 2010. Consumers were able to choose more freely where they would purchase their e-books, and the competition subsequently caused a price reduction.
The judge appointed a personal friend, Michael Bromwich, as a monitor of the situation. However, Bromwich used his position to rip into the Cupertino based tech giant. His role in the mess following the lawsuit is rather scandalous, as he is billing Apple $1,100 per hour to investigate the company. Oh, and as if that’s not enough, he has also called in a second law firm to help ensure he gets the job done right because he has no experience in this area. The first two weeks of his investigation landed Apple a bill for $138,432.40.
Bromwich has asked for meetings with all of Apple’s upper echelon, including Tim Cook and Jony Ive, presumably to pump them for information. Judge Cote also wants Bromwich to meet with her every month and hand over detailed reports of what he has found without having an Apple attorney present at the meeting. The WSJ says this is completely unconstitutional.
The editorial column in the Journal says, "Special masters are typically imposed on a company to remedy a pattern of especially egregious conduct using a settlement consent decree in which litigants agree to the terms of the appointment. Judge Cote foisted Mr. Bromwich on Apple over its objections, to punish the company for what she ruled was price-fixing when the late Jobs tried to alter the payment structure of e-books in December 2009 and January 2010."
Judge Cote has withdrawn her request for private meetings with Bromwich after Apple loudly voiced its objections. However, the Journal says that withdrawing the request is not enough.
"The Second Circuit where her ruling is on appeal should remove her from the case. Her condominium with Mr. Bromwich is offensive to the rule of law and a disgrace to the judiciary.”
What do you think? Is this a gross abuse of power for a judge to place a personal friend in charge of a massive investigation, then try to gain information without both parties present? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The rumors have come to pass, and Apple and China Mobile have signed a deal to launch the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, China Mobile and Apple have signed the contract and the 700 million subscribers the Chinese carrier has in its customer base will soon be able to purchase their new iPhones.
China Mobile is the largest carrier in the world by subscriber count, and a 700 million head market is a big stroke for Apple. That means that China Mobile’s customer base is around two times the entire population of the U.S. This deal has been in the making for several years, with Apple executives trying to get a contract inked with the giant wireless provider. No doubt the carrier will see great success with the iPhone launch to its customer base, which is largely made up of China’s middle class.
Apple has been marketing the iPhone in China, and the country is the second largest market for the Cupertino company, coming in behind the United States. However, Apple has been losing ground to other smartphone manufacturers, including Xiaomi. The reason for this is that competitors often offer cheaper options than the iPhone, which attracts more users.
In September, Apple was able to gain clearance from the Chinese government to allow China Mobile to operate the iPhone on its wireless network. This was a big victory for Apple, and quite possibly what has fueled the rumors surrounding the deal for the last few months. Earlier this week, China Mobile also made progress with the government, securing permission to operate a fourth generation network. This new type of network uses TD-LTE technology, which is extremely fast, and will replace the 3G network currently in place.
This deal could mean a huge boost for Apple in the coming weeks. The launch is rumored to be happening on December 18th, so we don’t have long to wait until we find out just how big this deal is for both companies.
|Credit: Charles Dapharak/ AP|
Blackberry has managed to keep one loyal customer while enduring the loss of millions of others to companies like Apple and Samsung. President Obama has said that he is not allowed to use an iPhone because it is a security risk. He told a group that because of “security reasons” an iPhone is off limits, and instead he uses a Blackberry device.
Blackberry Turning Sour
Blackberry was once the device of choice, but in recent years the company has slipped from the forefront of the market to become a distant memory in the minds of a 30 plus generation. The company shed market share to Apple after the advent of the iPhone, and Samsung and other manufacturers have been eating away at what was left of the manufacturer’s customer base.
Blackberry has struggled just to maintain and even keel of late, and recently its CEO, Thorsten Heins, was ousted and replaced by John Chen. The company’s board hopes that Chen can turn the struggling smartphone maker around, but in the meantime, any customer held on to is a plus. The fact that the president of the United States is a loyal customer could be a major advertising boon for the company.
Apple Growing Sweeter
Apple has become a world leader in the mobile market, with its iPhone taking the world by storm. The iPad tablet line has also been a very successful product for Apple and will no doubt help bolster sales during the holiday shopping season. The release of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c last year have carried Apple through the year, and the recent launch of the iPad Miniwith Retina Display and the iPad Air have boosted its numbers.
While Blackberry may have succeeded in keeping Apple from entering the White House, Apple may very well be the force that places Blackberry execs in the poor house if Chen can’t straighten the ailing company out.
Want to see the difference in the iPad Air and the new Galaxy Note 10.1 model? Then take a look at this, as the two products are compared. Awesome spec comparison of the two tablets.
From the tops of massive wind turbines to 50 feet below the surface of the water, the iPad has become a necessary part of many people's lives. Check out this awesome video from Apple detailing how iPad can be used in places you may have never thought it was possible to take a tablet.
Facebook and Twitter have been hacked on a global scale. I know this sounds absurd, but the fact is that both of these networks have been compromised due to the use of simple passwords. This cannot be blamed on a lack of security by Facebook or Twitter. Instead, this one falls directly on the users’ heads.
Trustwave is a Chicago based company that specializes in cyber security. The company posted to its blog that more than 2 million accounts on the Internet, including some on Facebook and Twitter, have been compromised by the “Pony” botnet controller virus. The virus is a piece of malware that spies on your computer via a keylogging script. It was spread around to computers all over the world, leaving many of them exposed to the hack.
Trustwave tracked the activities of the virus to a server in the Netherlands. They managed to do this through an “elite team of ethical hackers,” which successfully traced the information that had been stolen. According to SpiderLabs, Trustwave’s “hacking division,” said that some 650,000 sets of website credentials were stolen in a blog post last June. This was done through the Pony, version 1.9. However, according to the latest report, this time the theft was a very “stable and consistent operation” while the report from June described a more “hit and run” setup.
This time around, 1,580,000 website login credentials and 320,000 email logins were stolen through a server in the Netherlands. The server was first spotted on November 24th, and the accounts that have been compromised are numerous.
Here is a breakdown of the numbers:
· Facebook – 318,121
· Yahoo – 59,549
· Google – 54,437
· Twitter – 21,708
· Odnoklassniku (Russian social network) – 9,321
· LinkedIn – 8,490
· ADP (Payroll solutions provider) – 7,798
These accounts were compromised by a lack of private security by users who chose weak passwords. If your password is “password” or “123456,” then you’re at a much higher risk of being hacked than if you chose “SupercaliFragilisticExpealidocious.” While that might seem a bit over the top, I am sure that the account holders at ADP who found their money managing accounts compromised would disagree with you wholeheartedly.
According to John Miller, a security manager at Trustwave, there was “no evidence” that the hackers actually logged into the accounts. However, he admitted there was no proof otherwise, saying, “but they probably did.”
The bottom line is that if you want to be secure in today’s world, you should choose a password that’s hard to guess. Trustwave has compiled a list of passwords they consider to be extremely insecure, and are suggesting users do not ever incorporate into any online accounts.
Stay away from these passwords at all costs, and protect yourself from attacks like this one. Trustwave did note that most of the accounts that were compromised were located in the Netherlands, however, that is not to say someone will not target the U.S. in the next attack.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) set its highest closing price of 2013 yesterday, when it closed at $566.32. The stock has not closed this high since December 4th of 2012, which makes this the highest close in more than a year. The stock could be well on its way to the $600 price target set by Investor Place for January of 2014.
The holiday season is ramping up for Apple, and great numbers from Black Friday and Cyber Monday have no doubt helped to bolster the stock’s share price. It could be an Apple Christmas after all, if things keep looking up for the Cupertino company.
No New iPhone
Last year’s holiday season marked one of the best that Apple has ever seen. The launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini boosted sales figures through the roof, and the stock hit highs of more than $700. The following months left shareholders feeling deflated as the stock then plummeted to less than $400 per share, dashing the hopes of hitting $1100 price targets set by over enthusiastic analysts.
Apple Looks Good
Apple is looking good these days, and although there is no new iPhone this year, the launch of the iPad Air and iPad Mini with RetinaDisplay have proven sufficient attention grabbers. The public is snapping up these two products, and Apple had even experienced a supply constraint on the iPad Mini with Retina Display. Those issues seem to be easing now, and the device is proving to be a popular gadget.
The stock is on the move again today, following yesterday’s encouraging close. Currently it is trading at $563.52, which is a $2.80 decrease from its opening price. However, the stock has been fluctuating above its opening price most of the morning. No doubt, it will close near the same price it did yesterday, if not above that price.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
|Screenshot China Mobile Subsidiary Website|
China Mobile and Apple Inc. have been rumored to be planning an iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launch for the middle of this month. However, new developments in the story seemed to indicate that China Mobile had opted to launch the phone earlier. In fact, a website for one of the wireless conglomerate’s subsidiary companies in Suzhou was launched late yesterday, with the option to pre-order the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
Report Based On Site
The story was published by Fortune’s online tech portal, then later updated to reveal that China Mobile denied any deal with Apple being fully developed. A spokesperson for the Chinese wireless carrier told CNN’s Beijing office today that there is no deal with Apple yet. However, the fact that a deal had been on the minds of the two companies is an undeniable fact. Apple has been trying to sort out an agreement for more than six years with China Mobile.
Apple's Biggest Holdout
China Mobile has more than 740 million subscribers on its network, which makes it a valuable prize for Apple to acquire a contract with the company. However, so far, China Mobile has been Apple’s biggest holdout.
If China Mobile were indeed testing a soft launch of the iPhone 5 in its market, then Suzhou would have been a suitable place to do so. This city is one of the richest in all of China, and it has a large population. This population would not only be aware of the iPhone, but would also be able to afford the purchase price.
Site Taken Down
The website which allowed for the pre-ordering of the iPhone has been replaced with a page that has Chinese characters on it. According to Google Translate, the page reads: "Reservation page information update, will be reopened later appointment. Please try again later, thank you for your support of Suzhou Mobile!" This change was made after China Mobile made its statement to CNN that there was no deal with Apple Inc. Either the site was a hoax, or China Mobile has pulled it down and denied any involvement with it.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
The Nasdaq stock exchange has had quite a year so far, with a massive 33 percent increase that is equal to a 1,000 point rise. In fact, the exchange topped the 4,000 mark just in time for Thanksgiving this year, and the holiday shopping season is only just begun.
The Nasdaq is powered mostly by tech stocks, which explains the big rise it has seen this year, as the tech market has expanded and grown exponentially. While the massive increase in the exchange’s overall value seems monumental – and it is – but it is so much more impressive because its number one company by value has not really pushed the numbers this year.
Apple Not Keeping Up With The Rest Of The World
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the most valuable stock in the world. However, it has fallen far behind the pack this year, and has only risen 4.5 percent. Last September saw Apple Inc. touch its high water mark of $702, followed by a subsequent slide and recovery to its current level of $556.07 per share. The stock seemed to sour in the mouths of investors almost overnight, and it shed value by more than $200 per share before finally leveling out and making a comeback.
Apple Staging A Comeback
While it has seemed that shareholders in Apple have been left with sour cider for the last few months, it is possible that some sweet nectar may be just around the corner for the Cupertino company. We recently reported that Apple is projected to hit $600 per share by January of next year, and the company is climbing towards that mark each day.
While the stock gained $10.11 per share today and rose by 1.85 percent, the fact that it is inching towards that $600 mark could be a sign that investor confidence in the company is once again growing. The company is a conundrum of sorts, with analysts having multiple predictions regarding its future. However, the company has a huge cash pile, which Carl Icahn believes should be distributed through a massive share buyback program. The company also manufactures and sells the premier electronic devices of the day, with iPhone and iPad being household words in America and other thriving nations.
What Does The Future Hold?
Will Apple make a comeback to its glory days in the $700 price range? I think so, although I look for it to be somewhere in the fall of next year. I believe the iPhone 6 launch and possibility of an iWatch launch could be the catalysts to push the stock back to its stellar heights. In the meantime, buying shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to be a great way to squeeze some juice from the sometimes bitter market.
Disclosure: Author holds no position in any stock mentioned at the time of this writing.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Apple products were on many people’s must have list for Black Friday deals. While the general public may be interested in purchasing Apple products, analysts have been paying attention to how they are buying their products.
Apple products not only dominate the sales at many retail venues, but also the way people are making their purchases. According to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark group, Apple products dominated 80 percent of the orders made online from mobile devices. The group is a "digital analytics platform that tracks millions of transactions and analyzes terabytes of raw data from approximately 800 retail sites nationwide.”
According to the report, the number of buyers who use mobile devices to make purchases online increased by 9 percent last year. Other numbers of not include that mobile devices now make up 37 percent of all shopping traffic, and a total of 21 percent of online sales.
Apple’s iOS led the charge with more than 80 percent of sales from mobile devices placed from an iOS based device. Apple also dominated traffic for the holiday, with 26 percent. Android, Google’s OS, only recorded 11 percent of the traffic. Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, Blackberry, and other small mobile systems did not generate enough to make note of.
IBM’s researchers also noted that iOS users spent more money than those who purchased via an Android device. In fact, iOS users spent 18 percent more than Android users. The average purchase per order for iOS users was $131.34, while Android’s users spent only $11.35 on average.
Apple has become perhaps the single most powerful force in the mobile industry. With both its own OS and its own line of phones and tablets, Apple has more to offer than Google, Samsung, or any other competitor. The quality of Apple products is perhaps the biggest draw the company has. Owning an iPad or iPhone was once a status symbol; now it is quickly becoming status quo.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Bitcoin is the new virtual currency that has captivated the attention of the entire world. When Bitcoin first hit the world news scene it was in relationship to the demise of Silk Road, the website where consumers could purchase drugs anonymously, by using Bitcoins as the payment system. Now, with more nations recognizing the currency as a reputable means of payment, the currency’s value is skyrocketing.
Bitcoin prices were much cheaper, when a single coin cost $11.00 in November of last year. However, it recently passed the threshold of $1,000 per coin and today hit a high water mark of $1,242. This is an amazing growth rate for the currency, and it has not gone unnoticed by the world.
Meanwhile, gold, which has always been considered a stable form of currency, is dropping in value. It has fallen from more than $1,700 per ounce to a price of just $1,250 per ounce. Gold has registered a drop of around 25 percent so far for the year. This could be a real problem for the U.S. and other countries who’s currency systems are backed by gold bullion.
The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, said that Bitcoin may be the answer for the future, noting that it “may hold long term promise.” Could it be that we are about to witness a major change in the way that individuals, businesses, and even nations store their wealth. Will our currency be backed by a virtual coin rather than solid gold as it has in the past?
I don’t think that’s what is happening with the popularity of Bitcoin. After all, you still have to use real currency to pay for it, whether its U.S. dollars or Japanese Yen, which both are backed by gold.
Apple Inc. is offering Black Friday deals in the U.S. and Canada that mimic the deals offered in Australia. The company will be giving customers gift cards to spend in the Apple Store rather than offering huge discounts on products like the iPad Mini with Retina Display. While this may be a disappointment to some shoppers, it is a smart move by Apple.
In Europe, Apple opted for more traditional discounts rather than giving gift cards. According to Apple Insider, customers wishing to see direct cash savings on new Apple products should try authorized resellers like MacMall, Best Buy, and Amazon.
In regards to Apple’s deals offered via its gift card program, the U.S. package looks to be pretty good. The iPad Air will land you a $75 gift card to the Apple Store, and the standard iPad Mini or iPad 2 will net a $50 card. A MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac earns a $150 gift card. iPod Touch snags $50 and the iPod nano and Apple TV will get you a $25 gift card. Unfortunately the iPhone does not qualify for any rebates or discounts this year.
This swap from the normal discount programs is most likely a push for the company to retain its profit margins. Giving the gift cards will help customers grab more loot from the Apple Store than they normally would, but it doesn’t help reduce the bottom line of what they have to spend.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Apple has kicked off the holiday selling season in Australia by launching its Black Friday deals. Interestingly enough, there are no big discounts in the Apple Store itself this year. Instead, consumers will be receiving Apple Store Gift Cards with amounts up to A$150, which is equivalent to USD $137.
A breakdown of some of the offers are as follows:
iPad Air = A$75
iPad Mini or iPad 2 = A$50
iPod Touch = A$50
iPod Nano = A$25
iMac, MacBook Pro, & MacBook Air = A$150
Exotics (Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, Apogee JAM Guitar Input = A$25 – A$50
While it seems odd, Apple has not offered a gift card for the iPad Mini with Retina Display. This could possibly be explained by the inability of the supply to meet demand for the powerful little tablet. Last year Apple offered immediate discounts on purchases from the store. Most of these discounts were in the 10% range, such as a $41 discount for the iPad and $101 for the MacBook Pro.
What do you think: Should Apple use gift cards, or give direct discounts like other retailers on Black Friday?
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
In a report today from Sam Collins, the Chief Technical Analyst for Investor Place, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is predicted to hit $600 as early as January.
In the report, Collins notes the numerous times he rated $AAPL as a Sell, beginning on October 9 of 2012, when the stock was trading at $638.
Apple was on a downward trend at the time, which continued through December, when he recommended again that investors sell the tech stock, as it had dropped to $510 per share. On February 28th of this year, he made yet another sell recommendation, giving the stock a target of only $450 to $500 on the downside. At that time, the stock was bringing only $440 per share.
In July, Collins noted that when the stock was near $410 per share, he said, “All shorts should be covered in light of a possible saucer forming. A close above the resistance line at $465 would signal that a long term bottom has finally been established.”
This prediction proved to be true, and in September Collins said, “The bullish saucer formation has continued to develop, a golden cross has formed, and MACD triggered a buy signal. The final bullish signal would be for AAPL to close above the resistance line at $500, but those who wish to take a modest risk could take positions now with a trading target of $570 and a stop-loss at $455. Apple has become a moving target, but a well-placed arrow here could result in a bushel of profits.”
Apple Evens Out
Since September Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has consistently closed above $500 per share. It has remained just under the $540 per share mark, and according to Collins this bodes well for the stock going forward.
He says that a close above the $540 line on a higher volume should boost the stock to the $570 target price set by Investor Place. From there, it is just a short hop to $600, which is the price target he believes Apple will hit in January of 2014.
The chart below illustrates Apple’s movements this year, demonstrating the saucer effect mentioned by Collins.
Whether this prediction will come true remains to be seen. However, in light of Apple’s success with the iPhone 5s and the fact that China Mobile will be launching the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in December, a $600 price target does not seem to far out of reach.
Demand for the iPhone 5s has caused Apple supplier Foxconn to boost its production to 500,000 units per day. With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, the need to reduce the bottlenecks in supplies has increased.
According to reports, the Taiwan based Foxconn has dedicated 100 of its assembly lines strictly to the iPhone 5s. The Zhengzhou factory has more than 300,000 employees working on the iPhone 5s around the clock.
This big boost in production has helped ease the supply constraints and reduced the amount of time required for shipping a new iPhone. Reports came in during the early stages of release that iPhone 5s customers were waiting as much as 3 weeks to receive their new device. However, that wait time has now been reduced to 3-5 days.
Foxconn has indicated that it is at maximum production for the iPhone 5s, and rumors of Apple’s desire to diversify its supply chain could be leading to the company being unwilling to dedicate more of its employees to the iPhone. If Apple selects other suppliers to produce its products, Foxconn’s share of the pie could get substantially smaller.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Apple had better watch out for the up and coming convertible tablets offered by its competitors. Companies like Microsoft and Nokia have launched tablets that are operable through both a touchscreen and an attachable keyboard.
While Apple has poked fun at these tablets, claiming that combing a tablet and a PC in one unit is like combining a refrigerator and a toaster; it appears that the Cupertino company may have more competition than expected from them.
According to research conducted by NPD DisplaySearch, the tablet market is forecast to see 19.8 million touchscreen notebook PCs shipped this year. This number is equal to about 11 percent of the overall number of tablets shipped in 2013.
The number of notebooks being shipped has also grown throughout the year. In the first half of the year, these miniature PCs controlled only a 7 percent market share. The tablet makers have been adding the touchscreen feature to their “ultra-slim” PC units, and allowing consumers the ability to use it as either a tablet or a computer.
Which Brands Control The Tablet Market
The one manufacturer that has really embraced the touchscreen technology is ASUS, with one fifth of its laptops now operating with touchscreen capabilities. Sony has followed close behind with 17.6 percent of its notebooks utilizing the technology.
In terms of market share, ASUS holds the largest piece of the pie at 26.3 percent. However, Lenovo, which uses touchscreens in only 7.4 percent of the laptops shipped, has a 14.7 percent share in the market.
Apple Refuses To Conform
Apple seems to be the only renegade company on the market. Tim Cook has firmly announced that Apple will be keeping its iPad and iMac lineup separate from each other. Apparently, Apple executives feel that if a consumer wants a tablet, they should buy a tablet, and if they want a laptop, then they should buy a laptop.
Reports are surfacing regarding the alleged abuse of worker’s rights in yet another Chinese factory that supplies companies like Apple, Samsung, and HTC with parts for their smartphones. This time the report focuses on Biel Crystal Manufactory, a company that supplies screens for the iPhone to Apple.
According to a report released by the Students Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, also known as SACOM, employees must work for all but one day each month. Each workday is allegedly eleven hours long, which equals three hours of required overtime daily.
The report is built from research that was carried out through 60 off-site interviews with employees. SACOM also launched an undercover investigation into the factories owned by Biel Crystal Manufactory. Biel is one of the largest glass producers in the mobile industry, and reportedly accounts for 60 percent of the glass used by Apple in its products. Samsung receives 20 percent of its glass from the supplier, and other noted customers are HTC, Nokia, and Lenovo.
Worker Speaks Out
One worker interviewed from the quality control area of the company gave the following statement to SACOM:
"Biel has a lot of orders from Apple and Samsung. There's no such thing as peak or non-peak seasons in the factory. Almost every month is a peak season, and we just work and work. We have to work three hours overtime every day from Mondays to Fridays, and we work another two full days (meaning 11 hours per day) on Saturdays and Sundays. There is no break at all until we shift duty at the end of each month."
Safety Is Disregarded
SACOM, which is based in Hong Kong, also claims that Biel is not meeting safety requirements set by the Chinese government. Many of the workers who are injured in the factories are allegedly denied compensation for their injuries. The report also claims that employees have been fined for not meeting production quotas or for falling asleep on the job. Other fines have been levied if a worker breaks glass.
SACOM says the employees are forced to sign a blank contract, which is then required to be returned to the company when the worker decides to quit. This eliminates the ties between the employee and the employer, protecting Biel from lawsuits levied in the future.
Suicide is another issue noted in the report, with one factory in Guangdong reporting five workers having killed themselves in the last three years alone.
Apple has responded to the report in a statement to Reuters, saying:
"We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes wherever Apple products are made. Every year, Apple inspects more factories, going deeper into the supply chain and raising the bar for our suppliers. In 2012, we conducted 393 audits at supplier facilities around the world."
Monday, November 25, 2013
Apple is rolling out a new product for the hearing impaired that just might make life a little easier for them. Apple has partnered with Copenhagen based GN ReSound to make the first Made for iPhone hearing aids.
According to Reuters, the LiNX hearing aids have been made available on the market, and what makes them extremely different from their predecessors is that they will link directly to an iPhone. Prior models of wireless hearing aids for cell phones were designed to connect to Bluetooth enabled phones via a “streamer” that acted as a portal for the devices.
Low Energy Technology
The hearing aids utilize the same Bluetooth technology that Apple uses to power its iBeacon micro-location devices. It operates on the 2.4 gigahertz band using Bluetooth’s low energy mode. The hearing aids serve as much more than a conversation helper for the hearing impaired. They can stream music as well as be used for calls. The adjustments for the devices are all handled through an iOS app that is specially designed for them.
Competition Heating Up
There are other companies in the mix who are all vying for a piece of Apple’s market, and similar products are being developed. Starkey Technologies of Minnesota, and William Demant of Smørum, Denmark are also expected to release devices, although no official announcement has been made.
Apple Is Striving To Improve The World
Apple has dedicated a lot of resources to the project, trying to help hearing impaired people find a device that is useful for their lives in the iPhone. Both Apple and GNReSound personnel have made trips across the water to refine the devices and make them longer lasting in terms of battery usage.
Apple will be retailing the hearing aids at a cost of just more than $3,000.00 each. While this might seem like a premium price for hearing aids, to an iPhone owner who is hearing impaired, it just might be an answer to prayer.
Samsung lawyer Bill Price may have given Apple a whole new appeal to the market with his closing statement in the Apple VS Samsung patent infringement case.
Price’s closing statements indicated that Samsung felt that although some of Apple’s patents had been copied, they were not necessarily patents that should only apply to the iPhone. Price said, “Apple has tried to mischaracterize these patents so they are the iPhone. These patents are very narrow…Apple doesn’t own beautiful and sexy.”
That final sentence could be taken as an admission that Samsun simply did not have the design talent to build a phone that was sleek and appealing, the way the iPhone has been since it first debuted. It almost sounds like Price is admitting that Samsung was defeated in trying to engineer its own line of beautiful smartphones, so it poached Apple’s design for its own devices.
It appears that the technical genius behind the iPhone is not all that Samsung and other Apple rivals hope to overcome. Rather, instead the aesthetically appealing design of the unit, coupled with its intense versatility holds sway over competitors.
Many of those who delve into the technical realm would disagree that Apple has great success due to its marketing, but rather choose to believe that it is merely the technical beauty of the product that sells. However, even the most technical minded person would have to agree that Apple’s product design is very beautiful and appealing to the public.
While the engineers may find it hard to believe that many people flock to the attractive design of the iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products without knowing the full technical capabilities of them, it happens every day. In fact, the average consumer probably uses less than 50 percent of their iPad’s true capabilities, choosing simply to surf the web and play games.
I guess, when you get right down to it, Apple does own beautiful and sexy…and owns it well.
The iWatch is a fabled product that Apple buffs have been hinting about for several years. The idea of a wearable piece of technology that can help your fitness routine, provide music, and allow you to check your email without ever causing you to lose track of time, is a tempting thought at the least. Now, there could be evidence that Apple truly is developing such a product.
According to a report by DigiTimes, Apple has tapped the services of Taiwan based Quanta computers to develop the iWatch and production pilots are already underway. The device has been pushed back from the first quarter of next year to the second according to the report because of low yields. Foxconn has also been invited into the project, but the split between the two companies is as of now undetermined.
Quanta will also be responsible for building Apple’s new iPad, which is rumored to have a 12.9 inch screen. According to the report, the company expects supplies of the larger scaled tablet to be limited due to the fact that components for a tablet of this size are not currently available in the mainstream market. This means there could be a supply constraint until the idea of larger tablets catches on with component manufacturers. The new larger iPad will most likely be used in the education and business fields, rather than for personal home use.
Read the entire report here.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Well, Apple has finally made its acquisition of PrimeSense, the Israeli company that builds 3D vision sensors for machines like the X-Box Kinect. According to reports, the company was purchased for a price in the neighborhood of $360 million.
Krisitn Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, confirmed the deal, but did not divulge what Apple plans to do with its new acquisition. She said, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” This answer is altogether typical of Apple Inc., as Tim Cook never likes to tip his hand in the middle of the game.
Apple could utilize the technology from PrimeSense in many different ways, as the company has moved away from its original sensor program that built large pieces, similar to the one in Kinect. The company’s new line of sensors, like the Capri, would work well for mobile devices.
PrimeSense is the perfect acquisition for the Cupertino company, as it will give Apple a direct line on motion sensitive sensors for its new products, which could include an Apple TV and an iWatch. I guess we will have to wait and see what the tech giant does with its new toy, although it’s highly likely that Tim Cook would like to find a way to use it to boot Samsung from the market for good.
The holiday season promises to be a busy one for companies in the tech sector. Each year, the hottest item on many people’s wish list is a tech gadget, such as the latest smartphone or computer. This year, two of the most desirable items in the mobile sector are the Apple iPad Mini with Retina Display and Google’s Nexus 7 tablet.
Both of these tablets have a lot to offer, and while the iPad Mini is definitely receiving a lot of hype, the Nexus 7 is nothing to sneeze at when comparing the two.
iPad Mini with Retina Display
This tablet, which is the second generation iPad Mini, sports a 7.9 inch screen with Apple’s super clear Retina Display. The tiny screen contains more than 3.1 million pixels, allowing for crystal clear image and video display. This number is more than 1 million pixels higher than the amount found in a high definition TV.
The iPad Mini with Retina Display is priced at eight different price points. The Wi-Fi only models start at $399 for the 16GB and increase $100 in price for each step up in memory size. The internal memory packages available are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. For the Wi-Fi plus cellular models, the price points start at $529 and increase in $100 increments to $829 for the 128 GB model.
Google Nexus 7
Google’s revamped Nexus tablet is in its 7th generation, and the new model is quite attractive. It comes with a 7 inch display that delivers high quality HD video and images. The Nexus 7 is available in 16GB and 32GB models, and comes with 1GB RAM. It also sports an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor.
The Nexus 7 runs on Android Jellybean 4.2, has a built in GPS tracker, and a 1.2 megapixel forward facing camera. This powerful little tablet can connect via WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC (Android Beam) to other devices. It can also connect to the World Wide Web via WiFi and a data connection through a cellular provider.
The 16GB model of the Nexus 7, which connects only via WiFi to the Internet, is priced at just $229. The 32GB model that is WiFi only is just a $40 jump up to $269. The 32GB WiFi, LTE, and HSPA capable model is priced at just $349.
Pricing May Be The Key To Big Holiday Numbers
With Google offering its Nexus 7 tablet at a much more affordable price point that the iPad Mini, Apple will find some stiff competition this year. Many people will be opting for the money saving purchase of the Nexus 7 over the more premium features of the iPad. However, there will be the faithful following that Apple has created which will purchase the iPad Mini with Retina Display, simply because it is an iPad.
What will you be purchasing this year for Christmas? Tell us in the comments below.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Apple has made a big deal of its Retina Display capabilities with the iPhone 5S and the iPad tablet line. The resolution on these devices is extremely sharp, at 1136 x 640, and it presents crystal clear images and videos. However, a new report says that Samsung may have a new technology through Qualcomm that tops Retina with a resolution of 3840 x 2160.
The report, written by Nigram Arora, an engineer and nuclear physicist, details his opinion that this new technology from Qualcomm could give Samsung and other mobile handset manufacturers a one up on Apple. The only way for Apple to prevent this from happening is for the company to develop a new display that meets or beats the specs of the Qualcomm device.
Read the full report here.
Foxconn, Apple’s largest supplier of parts for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, is planning to open a factory on U.S. soil. The Taiwan based electronics company is planning on investing $40 million in the state of Pennsylvania for a new facility and for research and development.
According to reports, Terry Gou revealed the plan this week to invest $30 million in a new facility in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This new factory will be responsible for assembling components for telecommunications equipment and Internet servers.
The remaining $10 million of the $40 million proposed for the project will be spent on research and development at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The announcement confirms rumors from last year that suggested Gou had plans for expansion on U.S. soil. There is no definite answer as to whether the American factories will be handling any Apple products at all. But, there will be an added benefit to the Harrisburg community, with approximately 500 jobs to be added to the 30 that are currently provided by Foxconn.
Corporations Catching Heat For Far East Labor
Foxconn officials mentioned last year that the idea of making some of their products in America was interesting, simply because there is a strong demand for it from American consumers. The electronics giant already had plans in action for a training program for U.S. engineers through MIT.
Large corporations like Apple have come into the microscope of the press lately regarding the labor practices of their suppliers. With some critics pointing out horrible working conditions and poor living arrangements for factories in China, a move to the U.S. would be a good one in terms of publicity.
Apple has responded to consumer complaints by making a promise to consumers that its top of the line Mac Pro desktop computer entirely in the U.S. The assembly of the Mac Pro will be completed by Flextronics in Texas, while Foxconn will be relinquishing the duties to the American company.
Apple has launched its walk-in sales for iPad Mini with Retina Display in its retail stores in New York. Aside from the retail stores, some partnering wireless carriers in the region are also beginning to anno iPad Mini With Retina Display Now Available In NY Apple Stores
Apple has launched its walk-in sales for iPad Mini with Retina Display in its retail stores in New York. Aside from the retail stores, some partnering wireless carriers in the region are also beginning to announce that the tablet is available. This could be the start of a wide reaching rollout for the new tablet.
New York Stores First
The NYC stores were the first on the list to get the tablets in large enough quantities to allow walk-in sales. Brian J. White of Cantor Fitzgerald wrote a note to investors this morning that said that the Upper West Side location, Chelsea, and the downtown Fifth Avenue location have the tablets in stock. None of the other stores in or out of the city have a supply of the miniature iPads in stock.
White is a very dedicated Apple watcher, and he predicted earlier that Apple would launch walk-in sales of the iPad Mini with Retina Display this week. Now he thinks that Apple will launch the tablet in more locations next week. This will be Apple’s big score for Black Friday preparations.
The iPad Mini with Retina Display is also becoming available at select carriers in the United States. Bluegrass Wireless in Kentucky announced that the tablet was immediately available earlier today. C-Spire Wireless and U.S. Cellular have indicated that both of them should have the tablet in stock by the end of November.
Apple’s nearly silent launch of the iPad Mini with Retina Display was highly uncharacteristic of the Cupertino company. Normally, new products are launched with much fanfare and a public event. The launch for this tablet took place at midnight with a subtle change to Apple’s retail website. Many analysts still believe this was due to the limited supply of the tiny tablets.
Apple’s newest web page gives consumers some insight into the many ways that the iPad can be utilized in everyday life. It features stories that explain how people around the world use iPad to help them in their careers, from Broadway to underwater photo taking.
The page contains 6 stories in all, and each of them is remarkably different from the last one. All 6 of the stories explain a unique usage that particular businesses or individuals have found to utilize iPad in their daily routine.
Siemens Energy is one of the leaders in wind energy technology, and the story of Siemens and iPad working together to bring power to America is pretty amazing. The story explains how workers on Siemens’ massive projects would often need manuals and blueprints brought 250 feet up into the air via crane in order to get the information they needed to complete the project.
However, with iPad that all changed. Now, the information is right at their fingertips, with apps, email, and hard drive storage for all of the blueprints and documents they once had to carry.
This is just one of the stories found on the Life on iPad page on Apple’s website. Check the rest of them out, and prepare to be amazed at just how versatile these little tablets can be.
After 4 days of dealing with the flu, we am finally back and able to write again. We apologize for the lack of news over the last few days, and we will make up for that over the next few days.
However, I am back now, and I plan to have some great content today. There are some really good stories surfacing in the Apple community, so watch for our posts, as we give you the best stories right here!
However, I am back now, and I plan to have some great content today. There are some really good stories surfacing in the Apple community, so watch for our posts, as we give you the best stories right here!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The Cupertino City Council delivered a vote that was unanimous in its decision to approve Apple’s new campus. In return, the city also voted to hack 15 percent off of the tax break that Apple currently receives from the city.
Cupertino Keeps Apple Alive
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is America’s richest company by market capitalization. Last year, the company reported a net income of $41.7 billion, which is a complete 180 degree turn-around from 1997, when Apple was on the verge of failing. During this tough time in Apple’s history, the city voted to give the company a break. The measures taken to help ensure Apple’s success included returning 50 percent of the taxes that Apple generated through business to business sales. This was the city’s way of making sure that Apple not only survived, but also stayed in Cupertino, a move that has most definitely proven profitable for the city in recent years.
The new terms will reduce the amount of taxes returned to just 35 percent, which means that the Cupertino residents will only pay Apple $4.4 million to retain its Cupertino address, based on 2012 tax revenue.
Mayor Orrin Mahoney said on Tuesday that, “There will be short-term and long-term impacts from this new development. And as part of our negotiations, this change was just one way that Apple could continue to help us out in the long-term. This will give us some additional revenue, which will be nice to have.”
So, Apple gets to build the campus that Steve Jobs had envisioned several years in the past. Cupertino gets to keep the most valuable company in America within the safe confines of its tax barriers and gets an increase in revenue from the tech giant. Not a bad day for all parties concerned.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Rumors of Apple being in the development stages of a wearable smart device, which has been labeled the iWatch, have been circulating for quite some time. Those rumors have grown considerably more popular in recent days.
Galaxy Gear Is A Flop
Apple’s arch-enemy, Samsung, released its version of an iWatch in September. The Galaxy Gear was launched amid fanfare and advertising, which led many to believe the device would be a popular piece on consumer shopping lists. However, as of now, the device is a flop as far as sales are concerned.
Since the device debuted at the end of September, it has recorded approximately 50,000 sales. This number is well below what the company expected to sell, and everyone knows it. BusinessKorea said on Monday that the daily sales of the Galaxy Gear are in the 800 to 900 unit range. The publication notes that this is “far below initial expectations.”
Part of the reason for low sales is the fact that many of the initial reviews of the product slammed it pretty hard. The major faults noted in reviews were the high price of $300, the short battery life, and the initial limitation of connectivity with only the Galaxy Note 3. The last issue was later resolved, with support for the Galaxy S3, S4, and Note 2 being added to the device.
According to the rumor mill, Apple will be releasing an iWatch next year. The difference between Apple’s product and the Galaxy Gear is that Apple’s product is rumored to center around the physical health of its owner. With special biometric sensors, the iWatch may be able to offer valuable feedback regarding the medical conditions of the wearer.
All of this is still conjecture at this point, as Apple has not yet conceded that an iWatch is in development. However, the rumor mill, although sometimes missing the mark, is for the most part a fairly reliable source. If the rumors do prove true, then Apple will have to make sure the iWatch outperforms the Galaxy Gear, or the company could end up with time on its hands.
Tiny AppleBytes will keep you updated as we learn more about the iWatch.
Apple Inc. has a new love that may only be exceeded by its love for clean energy. This new love is sapphire glass, and it could just be the next big thing when it comes to smartphone screens.
Sapphire glass is made through a process that takes more than two weeks to complete, and requires the ingredients to be heated to 2,100 degrees Celsius. The end result is a product that is virtually scratch proof. The video below explains how the process works.
Apple’s Arizona Glass Factory
Apple has invested heavily in a new factory in Arizona that will manufacture sapphire glass for its new display screens. The agreement Apple signed with GT Advanced Technologies to produce the glass involved Apple paying $578 million in advance to the company. The factory will reportedly create 2,000 jobs in the Mesa area, including the construction jobs involved with building the facility. In theory, sheets of sapphire could be sliced thinner than a human hair, which would make it the most lightweight, durable screen material ever invented.
How Does Sapphire Compare To Gorilla Glass?
The cost of sapphire compared to manufacturing Corning’s Gorilla Glass is nearly ten times more expensive. The reason for this is partially that Gorilla Glass has already been around for a while, so the process for manufacturing it has been streamlined. However, sapphire glass is a brand new item on the market, and is sure to be a hot commodity for a while. The cost for a smartphone screen made out of Gorilla Glass is in the $3 price range, while a sapphire glass screen will cost closer to $30. Estimates say that once production of sapphire becomes more commonplace, the cost will be reduced to only three to four times that of Gorilla Glass.
Apple is rumored to be prepping the iPhone 6 to launch sometime next year. According to reports, the phone will utilize sapphire glass for its display screen, which is highly believable. At the current time, Apple uses sapphire glass on its iPhone 5s, but only for the Touch ID button, not the whole screen. If the iPhone 6 sports sapphire glass as its full display, then the cost of the model will most likely be raised to cover the cost of the added glass. However, demand is almost guaranteed to be extremely high, given the indestructible nature of sapphire glass.
Tell us what you think. Will the iPhone 6 have a full sapphire glass display? Leave your comment below and share your opinion with others.
|Image From AnandTech.com|
The iPad Min with Retina Display has been a much hyped device, and Apple Inc. is set to sell a lot of them this holiday season. However, there seems to a be a couple of minor issues that tag along with the tiny tablet computer, and both of them are tied to the display.
The first issue noted by reviewers of the iPad Mini with Retina Display is that some of the units suffer from minor cases of image retention. We reported last week that this issue had been noted by several consumers on Twitter, as well as multiple blogs around the web. However, while iPad Mini owners could return the units for new ones, the issue is not a threat to long term usage of the device. Also, image retention is not the same as burn-in noted on LCD screens, where the image is permanently etched. The image retention associated with Retina Display iPad Minis is temporary.
The second issue with the new iPad Mini’s display is coming to the forefront today, as noted by AnandTech.com. The Retina Display on the new iPad Mini is not as rich in color as that of its big brother, the iPad Air. In fact, the color difference can easily be seen when compared side by side.
Why Is The Color Gamut Different From The iPad Air?
The iPad Mini with Retina Display uses the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as the iPad Air, but it is in a much smaller screen, which makes it the densest display of any Apple device in terms of pixels. The text and graphics appear to be sharper and clearer than ever before.
So, if the display is sharper, why the issue with color saturation not matching the iPad Air? This is easily explained by the fact that Apple simply used the same color gamut for the new iPad Mini with Retina Display as it did for the previous iPad Mini. While the display is as high definition as you can get from Apple, the color range doesn’t tout the same quality as the picture sharpness.
What Does This Mean For Apple?
This could prove to be a marketing problem for Apple, as there are other tablets in the same price range that do offer the more dense color coverage. While Apple is a premium brand name that people love to buy, consumers expect the brand to live up to its premium price tag as well. Unfortunately, for some consumers, the iPad Mini with Retina Display simply won’t be worth the cost because of issues like image retention and poor color density.
Apple Inc. is a big supporter of clean energy, and that is not a big secret in corporate America. Apple is reportedly planning a huge new data center that will run entirely on clean energy, as we reported last week. The company has been noted by multiple sources to be very active in promoting cleaner electricity and fuel sources for not only its own data centers, but for the rest of the world as well.
In North Carolina, Apple took an unprecedented step by building its own fuel cell farms and solar farms to create clean energy for its data centers there. While Google and Facebook both support clean energy, and have requested the means to purchase electricity from clean sources, Apple is the only company to actually do something to better the world surrounding its data center.
Foxconn is easily one of Apple’s largest suppliers when it comes to the iPhone5. The company has been one of Apple’s go-to suppliers on almost every major project involving the iPhone, and its size and scale make it the perfect manufacturer for Apple’s flagship product.
All of these facts come to mind now that rumors are circulating that Foxconn is going to reduce iPhone 5c production at its factory in Zhengzhou, which is located in northern China. The company is not breaking ties with Apple, but is rather shifting its focus over to the more expensive iPhone 5s. According to a report by DigiTimes, which cites unidentified “industry sources,” Foxconn will be cutting back on production of the iPhone 5c, so that more of the iPhone 5s units can be manufactured and sent out the door.
As of right now, Foxconn handles roughly 30 percent of Apple’s iPhone 5c orders, while the other 70 percent is handled by Pegatron Technology. Pegatron’s production of the iPhone 5c has also been reduced since the device first went on sale in September of this year.
This is the first time ever that Apple has launched two separate iPhone models, with the iPhone 5c coming in a variety of colors and a plastic case. The iPhone 5s sports a much sturdier aluminum casing and is the exclusive device that has the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that allows only the phone’s owner to have access. While the iPhone 5c is cheaper, the more costly model seems to be the favorite with early purchasers. However, several people have predicted that the iPhone 5c will see its own share of success in the long run.